Desk adjusters have various claims responsibilities like reviewing field reports to resolve claims but unlike field adjusters, their work is done remotely through the phone and using specialty software programs like Xactimate. Also, known as inside adjusters, they frequently handle small (i.e., $2,500 or less) first-party claims under personal lines coverage, and can estimate and settle simple claims such as theft, vandalism, minor fire and water damage over the phone. And in the office setting, it is common for desk adjusters to have a team manager or supervisor available.
Desk adjusting requires some knowledge of the claims process, but it is a great place to start and learn about the overall picture. This role is a great option for those who seek stability, remote work, or for those who are new to the industry or do not want to perform the physical demands of field inspections.
Often desk and field adjusters work as a team to complete claims. Field adjusters provide photos and reports after they complete the inspection to desk adjusters who then continue their investigation leading to claim resolution. This relationship is an efficient system that ensures claims are quickly and efficiently processed.
Clay Bauman recently transitioned from field adjusting to a remote, desk adjuster role due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He describes his job as facilitating claims and expediting payments to the insured. Clay also admits he didn’t realize how much work went into the claim after inspection. Clay double-checks the field adjuster’s work and resolves any errors. He tries to retrieve the field adjuster's report as soon as it’s delivered and does most of his work in the early morning or late evening hours.
Desk adjusting is a choice for experienced adjusters who want to continue resolving claims, but do not want to deal with the physical requirements of field inspections, like climbing roofs and traveling. Larry Smith is an experienced adjuster with 40 years of experience, who also recently switched over to a desk adjusting role. In his file reviewer role, he is able to continue to mentor adjusters in the field and in the office. “I try to stay out of the field when I can because, in my mind, I still think I can do all the things I could do when I was younger like climb roofs,” he commented. Throughout his career, Larry has enjoyed the training and supervising of adjusters and he appreciates the opportunity to mentor new team members despite the change in his role.
Like every adjusting position, there are certain skills that are more essential than others to successfully perform the job. For desk adjusting, communication skills and being detail-oriented are vital. Sometimes, desk adjusters are the first point of contact for the insured and it’s important to be able to communicate clearly and empathize with the policyholder. Adjusters must be able to provide excellent customer service when helping the insured by listening to their stories, being aware of any changes in their claim status, and paying attention to the small details. These adjusters are responsible for the resolution of the claim and need to catch any corrections before issuing payments or denials.
While there are many career paths in the adjusting industry, it’s important to research different jobs to decide which best suits one’s needs and goals. Desk adjusting requires a specific skill set with a focus on patience, understanding and empathy towards the policyholder. It also can be less physically challenging and a good fit for field adjusters wanting to settle in one place for a long period or reduce the everyday demands of their current role.